Copyright © 2009-2011 Jon Seligman. All Rights Reserved.
1931 - 2009
It is hard to absorb that a year has passed since Shirley left us. A departure not sudden, not unexpected but one that loomed over us menacing and threatening. All ending during those last months of her deterioration and concluding with those final two weeks at the Sha’arei Tzedek Hospital. And now a year has passed and it is a time for reflection.
We had been married for over fifty two years. Almost all of our adult lives. A shared life with all of life’s experiences that included raising a family, sharing the ups and downs of economic vicissitudes, sharing activities and events, having a language and understanding that was our own private domain and yes, having differences and arguments too. Now the memories remain but Shirley is no longer there and the sharing has ended. The year has been busy for me with all kinds of activity but when I come home with something to share with her, some anecdote, a joke I had heard, the hard reality hits that she is not there. A comment made by a good friend suddenly had meaning, “I’m not lonely but I am alone.”
However, even when saying “being alone” one realizes that is only partially true. There are good friends that are supportive but most importantly I am so grateful for the constant presence of Timna, Jon and Vered and family, and in distant Manchester but nevertheless with me, Gideon , Lynn and family. My children and grand children, Daniel, Ella, Tomer, Maya and Yael, share the love and memories of Shirley with me and that helps to bear our loss and the awareness of the gaping hole in our daily lives.
But what would Shirley have wanted? She was so aware of what was happening to her that when we spoke of the future she was not one for platitudes and fudging the issue. She knew that she was dying and was not afraid to say so. The future was a future without her and she was insistent that I rebuild my life. “You’ll find somebody else.” I still remember those words with sharp pain as my eyes fill with tears. Of course she was right and I have struggled with this for the past year. There is the realization that there is the need for me rediscover myself as an individual. That is what Shirley wanted and that is what I must remember.
The events of a year ago feel as though they are as of yesterday but at the same time an eternity has gone by. Memory has already created a priority of how to remember Shirley. The terrible final two years are fading and have to be consciously recalled but the good memories, the happy memories, are the ones that emerge at unexpected moments. These are the ones that we talk about round the Friday evening table, at family events and when chatting over a cup of coffee (decaffeinated for Shirley!).
And so the second year begins. Let us hope that our love for her and all our good memories will ease the pain and our continuing sense of loss.
May she rest in peace.
REFLECTIONS - ONE YEAR ON
29 June 2010
David (Dov) Seligman